By Roy & Harv Schmidt
Although it is getting down to nitty gritty time with respect to players in the class of 2008 taking official visits and reaching decisions regarding their recruitment, things have also started to heat up in the 2009 class.
We begin with Steve Walker, the 6'6 junior forward from Simeon High School in Chicago, who verbally committed today to Northern Illinois University. The Huskies offered Walker upon the conclusion of their team camp in June and Walker had made it clear how much he wanted to attend NIU.
Walker's commitment is also a credit to Huskie assistant coach Dennis Gates, who during his short tenure in DeKalb is already proving that he is going to be a recruiting force in the Chicago area, particularly when it comes to recruiting the Chicago Public League.
Walker transferred to Simeon from Thornwood High School in South Holland, IL at the conclusion of this past season and competes on the AAU circuit with the Illinois Bobcats.
Staying on the subject of the class of 2009, 6'3 Brandon Paul from Warren Township High School in Gurnee, IL also received some big news today, as he was offered a scholarship today by the University of Illinois. Illinois Prep Bulls-eye was the first to indicate that Illini head coach Bruce Weber would be offering additional guards in the class of 2009 after offering 6'2 junior guard Chris Colvin over the weekend. Sure enough, this has proven to be the case. Paul also has offers from Loyola-Chicago and Wisconsin-Green Bay and is receiving heavy interest from other schools such as Southern Illinois, Purdue, Iowa, Xavier and USC among others.
Finally, 6'5 Nik Garcia from Niles West High School in Skokie, IL is continuing to take unofficial visits, with his next one scheduled to be the University of Michigan on September 1. From there Garcia will visit Southern Illinois (who has already offered) on September 8 and is also looking to schedule a visit with the University of Maryland, although the date still has yet to be finalized. Maryland has showed increased interest in Garcia as of late.